Intro: How to Make a Better Pringles Can
The Pringles can was a brilliant invention. It helps prevent the chips from breaking and keeps them fresh. But it has one major drawback. Getting chips from the bottom of the can is inconvenient. The can is too narrow for many adult hands and you will usually get your hand covered in the favor powder that builds up on the inside walls of the can.
So to get around this problem, you can either pour the chips onto a plate or design a better Pringles can. I chose the latter. There are a lot of ways that the Pringles can could be modified to work better. The design that I chose uses an adjustable platform for the chips so that they can be raised as the chips are consumed. The platform is loosely held in place by the friction and is adjusted by pulling on the platform with a loop of string that is attached to the lid.
Step 1: Materials
To make this mod you will need the following items:
Thin sheet metal that is suitable for use with food (I used a dollar store baking sheet)
Needle nose pliers
A Sharpie (optional)
Dental floss (or thread)
Step 2: Cut the Sheet Metal to Shape
Start by cutting out a 5in(12.7cm) diameter circle from your piece of sheet metal. Then draw a 2.5in(6.3cm) diameter circle inside your cutout. Be careful to keep the circles centered. The area inside inner circle will be the platform for the chips. The outer portion of the cutout will be used to make the spring-loaded supports that hold the platform in place.
Next we need to cut slots in the outer portion of the plate. The number and size of the slots is not crucial. I made about 40 slots that were about 3/16in wide.
It may help to first draw a series of lines through the center of the plate. This gives you a guide to help keep the cut lines straight.
Step 3: Bend Down the Spring Supports
Using the needle nose pliers, bend the metal strips down a little less than 90 degrees. They should be flared out to be a little wider than the can. This helps insure than these strips will press firmly on the inside of the can. Then bend the end of each strip inward a little further. This helps prevent the tips from getting caught on anything when it is inserted into the can.
This is the chip platform that will be used to support the stack of chips. In a commercial version of this design the platform could easily be created from molded plastic. But for a rough DIY prototype, metal is more convenient to work with.
Step 4: Thread the Floss From the Lid to the Platform
Using the ends of the tin snips or another sharp object, punch two small holes in opposite sides of the plastic lid. Then cut off a piece of floss/thread that is about 24in(61cm) in length. Thread the floss through these holes so that the two ends come out of the bottom of the lid. Then tie the ends together. Feed this loop through the teeth of the metal platform.
This loop of floss is what will be used to pull on the platform to raise the chip level. This platform adjuster could also be made from other materials. It could also be made from a single rod with an arm bent underneath the platform. Any method will work as long as it is capable of applying even vertical force to raise the platform.
Step 5: Put the Assembly in the Can
Insert the metal platform into the Pringles can and slide it to the bottom. If some of the cardboard on the inside of the can is sticking out, there is a chance that the platform may get stuck. If this happens, just spin the platform clockwise and it will come loose.
Then all you have to do put the chips back in the can and you are done. The easiest way that I have found to get Pringles back in the can without breaking them is to make an upside down stack of chips, slide the can over the top and then carefully flip them back upright. Then whenever you want to raise the level of the chips, just pull up on the lid. The strings will pull up on the platform raising the chips, and friction should hold it in place.
This may not be very practical to do at home with every can of chips. But it does show that there are simple ways to improve the design of the Pringles can. If you can think of another product that is annoying or inconvenient, leave a comment and I will choose some of the better ones to improve in a later project.